Bridges and Tunnels Collapsing May be a Thing of the Past Thanks to AI

The New York and Tel Aviv based startup Dynamic Infrastructure is implementing the world’s first deep-learning solution which allows bridge and tunnel owners and operators to obtain visual diagnosis of the assets they manage. The system provides live, cloud-based, 3D views of the bridge or tunnel and automatically alerts when changes are detected in maintenance and operation conditions – before the issues evolve into large-scale failures.

Dynamic Infrastructure quickly creates “medical records” for every bridge, tunnel and elevated highway, based on existing images taken through periodical condition inspections along the years, including images from smartphones, drones and laser scanning. The proprietary technology compares old and archived images to new ones, detecting maintenance and operation issues, defects and anomalies. Like MRI for humans , the 3D “medical records” serve as the basis for the alerts on changes in maintenance conditions. The diagnostics can be easily accessed through a simple browser and can be instantly shared with peers and contractors to speed maintenance workflows and increase return on investment.

“The world faces an infrastructure crisis,” said Saar Dickman, co-founder and CEO of Dynamic Infrastructure. “Specifically, deficient bridges and tunnels represent a severe infrastructure challenge in the US and worldwide and their poor condition leads to life losses and millions in unplanned expenditures. Trying to repair America’s deficient infrastructure without adopting new technologies will not work.

In total, there are more than 616,000 bridges in America. Of those, more than 47,000 are structurally deficient and need urgent repairs, according to a report issued earlier this year by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). Americans cross these deficient bridges 178 million times a day.

The average age of a structurally deficient bridge is 62 years. More than 235,000 (38%) of U.S. bridges have identified repair needs. ARTBA estimates the cost to make the identified repairs for all 235,000 bridges is nearly $171 billion. The pace of repair in 2018 slowed in comparison to 2017, and therefore ARTBA warns that at this pace, it will take 80 years to make significant repairs in America’s bridges.